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bill: who knows what the rest of the day's going to hold. alisyn: a vote. [laughter] bill: we will be back tomorrow to figure out where we stand then. have a great thursday, "happening now" starts now. jenna: we're awaiting a white house briefing on the debt crisis, expected to begin any moment from now as house republicans press ahead with a vote on speaker boehner's new debt plan. now, despite a white house threat to veto it, that is the plan that is expected to come to the floor today for a vote. we're so glad you're with us on this important day, everybody, i'm jenna lee. jon: and i'm jon scott. doug mcelway is keeping an eye on these developments live on capitol hill. what's going on right now, doug? >> reporter: well, jon, this plans to be a very, very big day, indeed. one of our producers on the house side was just standing outside a republican caucus meeting, and one of the last things he heard was some voice, he doesn't know who, saying, all right, let's go out there and kick the blank out of them, that
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after speaker boehner admonished his caucus to get their as in line, rhyming with basses. beginning at 12:30 this afternoon, the first of debates and votes, the first on a rule itself. assuming that passes, it moves on to debate of the boehner bill. what are the chances of passage? we've got a graphic you should keep in mind as you watch the debate this afternoon. there are 240 republicans, boehner needs 217. he can only afford to lose 23, and if it passes the house, it's going to pass by a squeaky, close margin if it does at all. it faces a highly uncertain future in the senate, jon. jon: just for our viewers, well, from the senate what's the latest word? >> reporter: we've heard this so far, that 53 democratic senators have signed a pledge to vote against the boehner bill. here's senator reid issuing this promise.
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>> i really believe it's time for the house republicans to face facts. they're struggling to save a tea party bill that's not a balanced solution. at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if speaker boehner's bill passes or fails. the way to resolve this crisis is to ignore the extremists. >> reporter: so there are three potential likely outcomes in the senate according to our senate producer, trish turner. she knows her way around this hall very, very well. first of all, that the president of the united states embraces the boehner bill and it passes. that's a very unlikely scenario, at least from what we've heard thus far. secondly, that the senate majority leader, harry reid, tables the bill just as he did cut, cap and balance. if he does that, he is going to infuriate republicans in both houses. another potential scenario is reid unveils a compromise in the form of an amendment that testifies, basically -- serves, basically, as a substitute to
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the boehner bill. that's a likely scenario, but if we really get down into the weeds, there are a million different potential scenarios, and we don't have the time, and i don't think the viewers are interested in all of those, jon. [laughter] jon: something that viewers might want to understand, and i want to pass this along, maybe you can flesh it out a little bit more, okay, we're going to go to jay carney, the president's spokesman. he's about to begin his morning briefing. doug, we'll get back to you. >> this early briefing today. i will be here, obviously, to take your questions on all issues. i have with me today at the top of the briefing the transportation secretary, ray lahood, because while we've been paying attention for obvious reasons on one congressional stalemate, there is another one that also effects the economy and jobs, and that's why secretary lahood is here to speak with you. he'll take some questions afterwards and then, like i said, i will follow him. and with that, i turn the podium over. >> good morning. since congress failed to pass an
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faa bill nearly 4,000 faa employees have been furloughed, and as many be as 70,000 construction workers across america are out of work. important airport modernization projects have been shut down in every state in the country, and let me just say parenthetically one of the highest unemployment segments in the country is in the construction area. in the building trades. and for all of my be friends on capitol hill who give speeches every day about jobs, the importance of jobs, putting people to work, this is not the time to be laying off 70,000 construction workers. these are friends and neighbors to people who live in if communities -- in communities. these are people who work hard, and we're right smack dab in the middle of the construction season. this is, this is not the time to be laying off 70,000 people.
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i have been meeting with and talking to member of congress from both sides of the aisle asking them to pass another kleenex tension of the faa bill which they have done on 20 occasions. so they need to come back to the negotiating table, congress needs to pass a clean bill so our 4,000 faa employees who were without a paycheck since last saturday can come back to work. these construction projects can start again, our friends and neighbors can go back the work. i think if some of you have been paying attention, you know that i've said we have the safest and the best aviation system in the world. this is not the way to run it. to have 4,000 of our people that run the system not at their
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desks, not doing their work. and to have these construction projects suspended. transportation has always been bipartisan. i served on the house transportation committee for three terms. it was always bipartisan. it's always been bipartisan, and i ask congress in a bipartisan way to come back, pass a clean bill, finish the negotiations and then get to a bigger faa bill. >> with that, we'll take questions. erica, start or with you. >> mr. secretary, do you have any advice to your former house gop colleagues on dealing with the debt ceiling? >> well, as some of you know, i've been in public service and politics 35 years, 17 years as a -- jon: that's former congressman and current transportation secretary ray lahood talking about the dispute in congress that has led to the lack of funding for the faa. the faa no longer collecting those ticket fees which should
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be a break for most consumers. you're probably not seeing it if you're buying airline tickets because many of the biggest airlines are simply sucking up that money for themselves and not collecting it for the federal government. we're going to continue to keep an ear on what the transportation secretary and jay carney, the presidential spokesman, have to say. if they make news, we will certainly bring it to you straightaway, but now jenna has an important guest. -and-a-half senator kent conrad joins us, and you certainly have a lot of work ahead of you, senator, so we appreciate you joining us again today. >> you bet. good to be with you. jenna: secretary lahood just gave us one example of something that happened during this debt ceiling debate, the layoff of certain workers for the faa and the halting of construction projects. that's just one thing that's happening because we're up against this deadline for the debt ceiling. just starting broadly here for our viewers, what is the one thing that every american should know today about the state of
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the debt crisis negotiations? >> i think it's important to understand that a process has to be gone through here. there has to be, i know this sounds crazy in many ways, but deadlock before you can achieve the breakthrough. in other words, both sides have to see that their favored proposal cannot succeed before you get to a final agreement. we're coming much closer to that. speaker boehner's plan may or may not pass the house, i assume it will, but it will fail in the senate. senator reid has a plan here, but i think it's likely that at this moment that won't get cloture, won't get 60 votes -- jenna: would you, are you in favor of -- >> let me just, let me just -- certainly i am. then we will get to a final
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negotiation. and let me just say behind the scenes there are discussions underway to find a way forward to how would you harmonize what leader reid has come up with and speaker boehner has come up with. and i increasingly am of the view that we can do that. that's good news. jenna: so "the washington post," let's talk about this deadline you mentioned, the necessary deadlock you say in order to reach an agreement, one of the most respected investors and ceos in the world today, heads the large bond firm had a description of what's happened so far. and this is what he says, i'm going to paraphrase some of it. he says in this political mess, already weak consumer confidence is being dealt a further blow. companies have an excuse to keep cash on the sidelines, foreign companies are nervous because they've built factories here in the unite, and our u.s. dollar is, of course, the reserve currency in the international markets. why is political deadlock worth all of that?
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>> it's not, of course. [laughter] i'm talking about reality. the reality is both sides have to see that their favored position cannot prevail. it's at that point that you can reach a principled compromise. and we're not quite there yet, but we're very close. and, you know, that will -- if we can reach agreement, that will avert the kind of long-term damage he is referring to. jenna: and is the deadline of august 2nd necessary? is that why either side hasn't seen that their way forward isn't going to work? that we haven't had mass hysteria in the markets? do you need to see that effect? and this is just a reality question, do we need to see that type of effect before there's the urgency and the fear to actually get something done? >> well, i certainly hope not. i hope that the leadership here on both sides and so far from what i've seen they absolutely understand the catastrophe that would occur if we defaulted. and in the public mind august
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2nd is the date, so i believe it is critically important that we achieve the breakthrough before then. i believe now we're on a path to do that, but obviously, you know, many is the slip between the cup and the lip. i can just tell you that after both sides see their preferred position will not prevail, that will be the key moment. and that's, there's a lot of work going on for that key moment. jenna: there's been, it's been said -- and we haven't had a direct comparison to both bills from reid and boehner. we know boehner's bill is going to be voted on today, reid we expect to present his bill in the senate. it's been described as very similar bills, so similar, in fact, that there should be common ground to be found. senator, you're against the boehner bill, but you're for the reid bill, so what's the key difference that makes you for the reid and against the boehner? >> oh, that is an excellent question, and i'm very glad you asked it because that really
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does get to the heart of it, doesn't it? the two are, in many ways, very close. reid's has somewhat more deficit reduction than does the boehner approach, but the fundamental difference is this: the reid approach is one step, one vote that extends the debt limit through the end of next year. the boehner approach is a two-step approach requiring a second vote. the problem with putting the two together is with reid with one step you've got to find a way of assuring that the savings, the deficit savings will actually occur after you've extended the debt limit. in the boehner approach that's two steps, you have to find a way to assure that there will be an extension of the debt limit past the end of next year. so that's the fundamental difference between the two. jenna: is that -- >> one step or two steps. jenna: one step or two steps, some say the reason the democrats are for the reid bill is because it would extend that
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debt ceiling vote to past election time, and that's a political strategy and political posturing. is that the case? >> look, i think what most people who are market observers would tell you is we really don't need to go through all of this uncertainty another time and in just a few months. all of the negatives that you were referring to from the biggest bond trading company in the world telling us that the uncertainty causes problems, indeed, it does cause problems. the problem with the boehner approach is it's two steps, it goes through the whole uncertainty another time in just a few months. so the key here is if it's going to be one step as the reid proposes, to be able to assure everyone the markets, our colleagues, the american people that we're going to have deficit savings of a significant
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proportion. jenna: when do you expect the gang of six, which you're a part of which has further deficit reductions that touches things that are very sensitive like entitlements, like some tax relief, when do you expect to have an actual bill to vote on? is. >> i've just come from a meeting of the group of six. we have a draft. that draft is being worked by the staffs of all the members, and we're going to be prepared to be a part of the solution. jenna: we look forward to discussing that more with you because despite what we're talking about with the debt ceiling and this debt reduction plan, there's still that question about a downgrade of our credit and a further deficit reduction plan might and most likely will be needed according to analysts, so this is valuable information that you're giving us today, senator. thank you so much for joining us again. >> you bet. jon: we're going to take you back now to the white house briefing room where jay carney, the presidential press secretary, has begun his daily briefing just a bit early.
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that's transportation secretary ray lahood. he's been answering questions about the faa fund being bill -- funding bill, a dispute underway in congress about how to pay for the activities of the faa including airport construction. and because that dispute has not been resolved to congressional satisfaction, there is no faa funding bill right now. the faa is furloughing about 4,000 workers. let's listen to the transportation secretary. >> i'm not going to get into that aspect of it. i've probably said pretty much what i want to say about this. you know, i'm going to leave the details to jay and others that work in government affairs to do that. um, you know, i'm -- >> mr. secretary? >> yes. >> at what point does the faa impasse become a public safety issue? >> there is no public safety issue here. flying is safe. air traffic controllers all over america went to work today. they're guiding planes in and out of airports.
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thousands of people will board planes all day today, fly all over america and all over the world. safety is not compromised. and, frankly, the flying public's travel plans will not be compromised. the people that have been furloughed, the 4,000 people, are people who are working on next generation technology research and things like that. so safety is not compromised. yes, ma'am. >> [inaudible] >> in terms of the tax? >> right. >> yeah. it's about, it's, it's about $200 billion a month. >> $200 billion a -- >> $200 million a month. >> [inaudible] >> all right. i'm going to restart. [laughter] $200 million a week? is that right? all right. blame jill if i'm wrong.
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[laughter] let me go back to this gentleman. >> will that money have to be made up? is that going to put a crimp in financing for future aviation projects? this i mean, that's a fair amount of money to be losing. >> you know what it is? it's real money to the treasury. for all the talk about debt and deficit, that money is being lost to the treasury. and we're trying to figure out if it can be made up or not. so for people who really care about debt and deficit, pass a clean bill, let's get back on track, let's get our workers back to work, let's get construction projects going again, and let's start collecting the tax that goes into the federal treasury. that it, jay? look, i know you want me to stay up here a lot longer than -- [laughter] >> i am so happy you're here. >> yeah, i know. [laughter] there's two reasons for me to be here, so he can relax a little bit -- jon: ray lahood is talking about the tax that the faa collects off every single
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airline ticket sold in this country. that tax varies depending on how many flight segments you are flying, a two-part leg costs more than a nonstop flight, that kind of thing. but on a $300 plane ticket, you're paying at least $25 in federal taxes. since midnight last friday, that tax has not been collected because congress has not agreed on a funding bill for the faa. the transportation secretary is right now lobbying to get that tax reinstated. now, you may have noticed a dispute in the numbers there. 4,000 ,000 faa workers are furloughed, but he was talking about 70,000 construction workers who won't find work building airports, building at airports because of this funding dispute. that's why the banner and the number that i gave you were in dispute. let's listen now to the press secretary. >> other topics, i assume? erica. >> um -- [inaudible]
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sod there had been -- said there had been compromise, unquote, can you describe what that looks like? >> the bill that senator reid has put forward cuts spending significantly, cuts spending significantly more than the measure that's currently this house -- in the house. it also sets up a process as the measure in the house does to create a committee in congress that would address the issues that would be lost in this if we can't get a grand bargain at this moment which are the tough issues of tax reform and entitlement reform. and it would create a mechanism by which that committee would produce a product that would have fast track status and an up or down vote. and it would be, it is in the interests of all parties and, certainly, this president that congress does take action. in fact, the committee if it's set up through this mechanism could use and should use that as
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a starting point, a product that will get them very far down the road if they're looking to find a balanced approach towards further deficit reduction through looking at entitlement spending and spending in the tax code. and that's the plan and the compromise that was close to fruition, it was being worked on for so long by the speaker of the house, john boehner, and the president of the united states. the obama/boehner plan, if you will. that is a product that, um, provides a lot of guide posts to how you get to a bipartisan compromise on those tough issues. so really if we can't get that grand bargain, look, let me start, we still believe that's possible. that deal is on the table. if there is the political will to make it happen, it could happen before august 2nd. if that isn't possible before august 2nd, there are
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certainly -- what a compromise looks like is pretty clear. significant deficit reduction, a mechanism by which congress would take on the tough issues, pass reform and entitlement reform, and a lifting of the debt ceiling beyond, into 2013 so that we do not have the cloud of uncertainty that is hanging over our economy right now and getting darker and stormier as every day passes for another three months, four months, five months, six months, ten months. we have to, we have to -- our primary objective here has to be to protect the economy and protect the american people from economic harm. so if everyone has as that objective, has that objective in mind as we move forward, compromise is pretty easy. >> and could you clarify, yesterday you said that treasury would detail prior to august 2nd who'd get paid -- >> i appreciate the question,
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and i want to clarify what i said. i did, i think, mark was sitting over there in the radio seat, and he asked a lot of questions, and i said, you know, well said, and i implied things. levels of specifics that i did not mean to. what i, what i can tell you is that as we get closer to that date, treasury department will explain how it will manage a situation that is, essentially, an impossible situation. i refer you to treasury for how that will look, but i think they will explain that when that time comes. i don't have any more specifics than that. >> let me follow up on that. >> uh-huh. >> are you saying that you will prioritize the debt if you have to? is. >> look, i am saying that, two things. first, we continue to believe and remain optimistic that congress will come to its senses, that cooler heads will prevail and that a compromise will be achieved as i just
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spelled out. it really isn't that complicated at this point. what we need to do is get beyond, you know, voting on dead on arrival measures that aren't going to become law when we have so few days left to reach a compromise. we need to get that kind of political theater out of our system and get to work on something that can actually pass both houses with bipartisan support and be signed by the president. we believe that's going to happen. it is a matter of due diligence and responsible governance that treasury will, if we approach that date as we get closer to the debt date, explain how it would manage a situation that would be created by the failure of congress to act and would create a situation where for the first time in the our history we have lost our borrowing authority and risk default. you know? the i leave it to them to, you know, to them and at that time to give further details on that process. >> you just said you think there will ultimately be a deal,
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you've been saying that all week. do you think that, are you equally as confident that a downgrade of the credit rating can be avoided? >> well, here's what i know, is that we control, we in washington and in particular in this case congress controls our fate as regards whether or not we will lift the debt ceiling and allow the united states to continue to pay its bills and meet its obligations. the rating agencies are, obviously, independent, and it's up to them. what we can do is take actions that make clear that the united states is still the gold standard when it comes to investments, that it's, it is the safest of safe harbors as it has been for 100 years or more. and because washington functions and can compromise and can do the right thing by the economy. we do that, and we think that will help enormously in terms of how international investors look at the united states and our
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treasuries as a potential place to put their money. >> what about staying in contact with the rating agencies? is that something you're doing on a daily basis at this point? is. >> you know, that -- i don't really have any information on that. i would refer you to treasury department for that. you know, i think treasury is the right place to answer that question. i don't, i don't know of any contact that we have here. jay? >> republicans in the house say that they're voting for a compromise, speaker boehner's bill is a compromise. >> and what is the compromise that is inside of it? >> well, i don't speak for them, but they say it doesn't cut as much as they want, it raises the debt ceiling, it does a number of things that they're not in favor of. they would like deeper cuts, and some members of congress, obviously, don't want to raise the debt ceiling at all. so if that is their attitude -- >> uh-huh. >> -- why are you confident that speaker boehner can compromise any more? the president has spoken extensively about the difficulty boehner has with his caucus.
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>> we're confident because, jake, we believe that the american people have made clear that they want a compromise. they are so frustrated by what they see as dysfunction here, as unnecessary fighting over issues that could be and should be easily resolved. they want to see washington work on the problems that effect them directly. they don't want to see washington because of partisan and political posturing do things that actually hurt them economically, and there is no question that if congress does not compromise and be -- and does not act that allowing the united states to default for the first time in its history would have severe economic consequences and would, everyone, every family that owns a home and has a mortgage would be affected. every american who has a car and a car payment would be affected. a student loan, a credit card. and that's just the beginning of the terrible consequences for individuals. >> all these facts have been
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true for months. >> but that is -- well, and congress has a way of waiting until the last minute to do the right thing. we remain confident that it will. now, look, they've said a lot of other things. if they think this is compromise, they've said, as we've heard today, let's stick it to him, or, you know, let's -- speaker of the house said yesterday that his alleged bipartisan compromise bill is hated by the president, hated by the minority leader in the house and be hated by the majority leader in the senate. i think that demonstrates their view on whether or not this is a compromise. the truth of the matter is that it's not. and they've been quite clear about it. look, politics is part of this town. we understand that, we participate in it. and we, and some of these things happen because they have to happen. part of the political process. but we are now at a moment where those americans who were elected to represent people in their home districts and states need to decide, you know, about, you
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know, what is the greater good here. is it holding out to get exactly what you want, holding out for a bill, by the way, that creates a mechanism that would force the adoption of draconian cuts more severe than are in the ryan budget that was rejected already by congress and overwhelmingly opposed by the american people? or is it a compromise where nobody gets everything they want, but the cloud of uncertainty on our economy is lifted, and we make some significant cuts in be our deaf -- in our testify sit and set up -- deficit and set up a mechanism to do even more. i believe, we believe, the president believes that in the end that's the compromise we will get. >> isn't the boehner bill better than nothing? >> we don't believe that nothing -- that's a false choice. nothing is not what will be the alternative here. compromise will be the alternative. everyone in this town, rather, everyone who is elect inside this town -- elected in this
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town is on the hook for the economy. everyone will have to answer to his or her constituents about what they did, where were they when decisions were made about whether or not to allow the united states to default, whether or not to allow everybody's interest rates to go up, whether or not to allow a situation that would severely impact the ability of the economy to create jobs. and i think in the end enough members of congress of both parties will say we have to do the right thing here even if it's not the ideal thing, and they will get it done. >> is there any negotiation going on specifically between vice president bide season and the senate republican leader -- biden and the senate republican leader about what happens when and if senate rejects the boehner bill, what happens then? >> well, the senate will reject the boehner bill, but the -- as has been made clear by not just democrats, but a number of republicans who reject the boehner bill in the senate. >> [inaudible] >> they reject it, okay? so there is no question that
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this bill is a political act that has no life beyond it current existence in the house. we are having conversations at every level. i'm not going to detail the individuals who are talking to members, but you can be sure that members of the president's team are continuing the conversations that we have been having for weeks and months even. and that goes, goes on every day. >> but there is a plan? >> look, there are a variety of ways to achieve a compromise here, and we are, obviously, as are members and leaders of congress engaged in discussions about what those plans look like and what the best way forward will be as the clock clicks down here, ticks down. sorry. yes, dan. >> thank you. this morning and also as insight for tweeting, we're talking about the boehner bill and how
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it would mean dealing with the debt ceiling over the christmas holiday season which is an important time for the economy. is this new narrative then suggesting that the administration would embrace some sort of two-stage plan if it's past the holiday season? >> no. we have always said that we need to extend this to 2013. now, there are mechanisms, mitch mcconnell -- speaking of the republican senate leader -- had a proposal that would have created cycles of lifting the debt ceiling, but it would have made clear the whole idea of his proposal was to insure that the debt ceiling, there would be no doubt that the debt ceiling would continue to be raised in order for the united states to pay it bills into 2013. so there are different ways to do this. our objection is to any proposal that puts us through this three-ring circus again in any short period of time because it's already had significant negative impact on the economy.
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back and forth phone calls, anything seriously being negotiated behind the scenes? >> i think every conversation we have about this issue with every member of congress, and every key staffer in congress is serious. and it's about -- and when it's about this issue it is obviously part of negotiations. but i don't have any more to tell you about specific ideas
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being traded, or plans or proposals, just that you can be sure that we continue to have conversations, even as the house goes through this exercise that will not bring us any closure to compromise, because time is so tight we are obviously continuing to have conversations with folks on the hill. >> will we hear from the president after the vote is taken in the house. >> i don't have any scheduling announcements to make about the president. as you know in this process the president has come before you many times, both to take your questions and make statements, and on the occasion monday night to speak to the nation directly during prime-time. so anything is possible, but i don't have any announcements to make. >> does the president still want to be part of the debate or has he pretty much said --
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>> i think, first of all, he has been very visible in this. calling meetings, coming out and talking to you. the fact that he's not standing here in front of you, i can assure you does not mean he's not intensely engaged in this debate. because of his responsibilities, because of what he thinks is most important, which is that we insure that we don't do anything that hurts the economy, that affects growth and job creation, so he is absolutely engaged. >> what does the president believe that they've achieved in the debt ceiling negotiation? the current bill that is being considered in the house, and may become the vehicle in the senate does not include tax revenue. it does not include the size of cuts this he'd like, does not include the types of agreements on long-term entitlement changes. what does the administration
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feel its achieved? >> we certainly haven't got even an end result. the president's primary goal here is that at the very least, and he said this several weeks ago, we make sure that we lift the cloud that is hanging over our economy and insure that the united states does not default. there was a real and serious opportunity to do something far more significant, and as most of you here know, there was an immense amount of detail attached to the proposals that the president and the speaker were passing back and forth. there really is an opportunity here, if there is political will, there is a real opportunity here to do something significant, politically hard but significant, and politically hard nor democrats and republicans. i know that's what the american people want and expect. so that -- you know, however
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this short-term process ends if you will, before august 2nd, whatever compromise we reach to lift that cloud, to make sure we are locking in significant deficit reduction, this conversation will continue. despite of the fact that the speaker walked away from the negotiations twice, they did outline together real areas of potential compromise for doing something significant, for tackling our deficits and debt in a way that would strengthen our economy, put our fiscal house in order, strengthen our entitlement programs, simplify our tax code, you know, a lot of really hard, good things. and the president will keep fighting to do that. >> you've used the metaphor about the train heading into the station. it seems the only bill heading into the station is the john boehner. >> that is false. there is a bill that reduces spending more, you're right it
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doesn't have tax increases or revenues up front. if you were a republican you might say, gosh that looks like a compromise to me in my direction. the size of the cuts, you might say, gosh that is a compromise, the democrats have moved towards us on this. the fact that it allows for this dollar for dollar requirement that is completely convected but has created a hostage situation in terms of our economy, it even does that. you might if you were reasonable as a republican say, you know what i didn't get everything i wanted out of this but i got a right, and it's the right thing to do for the economy. what i know about the speaker's proposal in the house right now, there are already 55, 56, 57, 58 senators, democrats and republicans that oppose it. it ain't going anywhere in the united states senate. we need to do things that can be passed by both houses and passed into law.
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>> i'm surprised to hear you talk about the grand bargain again, that is now back on the table? it's never been off the table, well it's a fair question, it's never been off the table. >> i haven't spoken to the speaker in several days -- >> i'm not going to detail conversations or name individuals. all i'm saying is the president was at the table, the potential agreement was on the table, the grand bargain, and the speaker walked away from the table. over an issue that can be resolved quite easily. if the political willis will we can move back to those negotiations. if that isn't possible in the next five days, then there are ways that we can resolve this issue in a fair compromise that does the key things, which is lock in significant cuts, and lift the cloud over our economy and insure that we are not, you know, playing in this three-ring circus for the next six months.
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>> were you raising that as a hail mary pass? could you give us any indication that that is really alive at all? >> i think i've indicated and i will say it explicitly that the chances aren't great that we end up between now and august 2nd with a sweeping, grand compromise between the republicans and democrats that reduces the deficit 3 to $4 trillion over ten years, includes balance between entitlement reform and tax reform. that's not likely, but it's available if the political willis will. in the short term there are other options to do what we need to do at the bare minimum, then we can return in a serious way to tax reform and entitlement reform. mr. henry. >> when he asked you whether the boehner bill is better than nothing. you seemed to indicate it's not better than nothing. what is the president willing to put on the table in these final hours if we're really in such a
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desperate situation? will he give on spending cuts? will he give on having a debt ceiling vote early next year? what is he willing to put on the table now? >> well i appreciate the question. the -- absent a willingness to do something big and historic on the part of the speaker and other republicans, our bill that we have indicated pretty strongly our support for senator reid's bill. what is he willing to do? he's willing to take the cuts put forward in speaker boehner's bill and increase them dramatically which is what is in the senate majority leader's bill. he's willing to allow for a mechanism, which he thinks is very important, if we can't get the grand bargain now, that would make it a time-specific period where this committee would consider these options. he will hand over the reams of paper to that committee that could form the basis of serious entitlement reform, and tax reform in a bi-partisan way and
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certainly is willing to consider measures that are enforcement mechanisms to move that process forward. what he is not willing to do is allow this obviously damaging situation, damaging to our economy to continue. and people have asked, and i can't remember if it was you or others about a previous vote, the fact that under previous presidents there have been numerous votes to raise the debt ceiling. the fact is while these votes were often unpleasant for congress they were routine, and we never had a situation like this -- there was sometimes confrontations over this. i read in the letter from president reagan. the overwhelming number of times the congress acted because this was not a question, it wasn't this one-for-one thing, it wasn't a question of i'm going to blow up the economy if you will if you don't do what i want. that's just crazy. >> he's still not happy with the
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boehner bill you want the reid bill. if all you have to sign is some version of the boehner bill are you -- he's still willing to veto it and all these awful consequences laid out, the stock market crash, all these other things, he's willing to let that happen. >> i understand one of the things that has come out of the house conference is this desire to stand firm and then stick the president with default i think is one quote which came out of there, which is really incredibly juvenile. is this the game that the idea here is who can be blamed for doing serious harm for our economy? shouldn't the idea be what can we do to come proceed moist to make sure that doesn't happen? first of all, the bilk considered in the house cannot be an option because it will not pass the senate. it's dead on arrival. >> what if it goes to the senate floor. >> you don't know that it can't pass the house before senator reid's bill is passed on. you don't know that it won't emerge as a viable option.
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>> boehner may be the last thing standing. so if that is the case you'll go default. >> we made clear about how we feel about the speaker boehner bill, because it is incredibly bad for the economy to have this kind of circus go on in washington with folks saying that we're going to force default, we will not let the united states pay its bills unless you do what we want, unless you enact spending cuts that were rejected already, that are more draconian that are in the ryan bill, that would do significant damage to social security and medicare, force incredible cuts in education and clean energy programs, all these sorts of things, that nothing close to a majority supported and certainly not in the country, otherwise we'll just, you know, default. that is not a mechanism that is good for us, good for the economy, good for the american people. so that's what we oppose. beyond that, there are a lot of
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ways to get to compromise here, and what is what the american people really want us to do is to compromise, not stick it to anybody, not score political victories and see who can be blamed for the economic damage that would be done by the fight here. people want these fights to result -- they are happy to have -- they vote, you know, every two years, every four years for president, and obviously people feel strongly that they send representatives to congress with points of views and they want those views expressed and to guide votes. in the end they want it to result in good things not bad things. >> in 2008 as a candidate the president said if easy elected he'd put the healthcare negotiations on c span. didn't happen but he got the healthcare reform through. he told 60 minutes he regretted it. there is a price to that, people thinking what is going on behind closed doors isn't good for us,
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then he was arguing that it should be done behind closed doors because interest groups are going to blow it up. do you have any regrets that the president put some details on the table but if you had put more of the details on the table earlier you might be further along in this process because it would have been more transparent? >> i appreciate the question, and the answer is no, because if the president had gone into a room and said, here is my bi-partisan compromise, guess who would not have been in the room with him? a republican leader. okay? and his interest in the end was to sit down with the speaker of the house and other republican leaders, majority leader cantor as well, and try to workout a deal. and understanding that this was politically hard and that the only kind of compromise you could achieve would be one that was reached between leaders, and then presented to members of congress of both parties to
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evaluate, and then those who were the architects of the deal could say, here is why we think it's not perfect, but on balance the right thing to do. and, you know, you're a veteran washington reporter, there are a lot of you here, and i think we all understand how that works, that if you layout a proposal that is politically -- by yourself that is extremely politically hard for your party, whether you're a republican or democrat it's like putting a clay pigeon in the air, it's insuring it's defeat. it's a sad statement about how washington works but an incredibly realistic statement about how washington works. the fact of the matter,ed, i've talked about this with others, there is no plan that has been offered, certainly in the last several months, about which more detail is known, or has been specified than the obama-boehner plan, in terms of the cuts in domestic spending, both defense and nondefense discretionary, the savings coming out of
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entitlement programs including medicare, medicaid and social security. the kind of tax reform that was envisioned, and the rec nice eupls by which tax revenue would be a hard thing for republicans to accept but was part of the deal would be # hundred billion dollars, and part of of this proposal. everybody knows these details. it's not that people are hiding theetails of the boehner plan or the reid plan, there is a lot less to them than the plan that was worked on by the president and speaker of the house, and now in the aftermath the details are very well known by so many people. mike. >> you say everybody is on the hook for how they behave and their votes on the economy and on this plan. does default inevitably arise if the debt ceiling is not lifted? >> what happens if the debt ceiling is not lifted is that we lose our borrowing authority.
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jon: if you are listening to jay carney the president's spokesman you heard him say that without a doubt, they are wink, meaning the white house is wink this debt ceiling argument on the merits. a great many people would disagree with that, but that is really up to you. we report, you decide. let's talk now about this whole issue with a senator who brings a great deal of experience to the table for a couple of reasons, senator rob portman is a republican from ohio but also the former director of the office of management and budget under president bush. senator, thanks very much for being with us. >> jon, thanks for having me on. jon: the boehner plan which is what seems to be the big argument of the moment, would cut about $900 billion from the deficit over ten years. it would allow an additional $1.6 trillion increase as i understand it in the debt limit
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but only if congress votes to reduce spending by that amount, at least that amount over the term in which it is raised. does that have -- does that sound good to you? is that something you would vote for? >> well, jon, you're right it's about 917 billion right away and another 1.8 trillion actually through this joint committee which would report by the end of this year. so the total amount is about $2.7 trillion. i just heard the white house spokesperson talking about the fact that those cuts are somehow less than the cuts that they are supporting. that is actually not accurate, the cuts that they are supporting, which is mr. reid's bill has cuts of about $940 billion. and it does set up a committee as well, but that committee is not subject to any kind of pressure, because there are no consequences for not reporting. in other words it isn't related to the next debt ceiling. to try to go through all the confusion numbers you just heard from the white house briefing i would say that, one, the boehner proposal has more cuts, and has
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the possibility of actually creating the tax reform we need and the entitlement reforms that we need through having it tied to the second debt limit increase. the reid plan that they are supporting has the guarantee only of less than a trillion dollars worth of cuts versus the boehner possibility of 2.7. these are very different proposals in that regard. i will say that where the white house has continued to miss the boat is that the house and senate proposals both have spending cuts, both have a process with a committee and both do not include tax increases, which is what the president continues to call for on monday night as you know, knowing that there was no plan on the hill calling for tax increases the president continued to say we needed to raise taxes on a weak economy. so that's kind of the bidding right now. i think the boehner proposal has a good prospect of getting passed in the house and i hope that it's won that we can support in the senate. jon: the president's spokesman there was sort of speaking whi
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whistfully about debt ceilings were routine. a short term increase which the white house now seems to be rebelling against a bit, they want to push the vote, any next vote if we get one now they want to push the next one past the next presidential election, that seems to defy convention, doesn't it? >> it does, jon, you're absolutely right. the norm has been shorter term. by the way i don't whistfully remember all those fights having been in management and budget and on the house side. i think maybe he wasn't there for some of those fights. there are often big fights that are connected with this. because the american people and, by the way, the markets want to know that when you're extending the ability to borrow that you're dealing with the underlying problem and that is the debt. so, again, where i would disagree with the white house position right now, they are saying that you need to have a
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long-term commitment in order to avoid economic disruption. we are saying that you need to have serious debt limits that are reducing spending now in order to extend and deal with the underlying problem, that that's what the economy is really looking for. if you look at what standard & poors and fitch and moody's are saying, they say yes we need to extend the debt limit, i agree with that, that's necessary, but it's not sufficient. we have to deal with the underlying problem, and the boehner proposal has a much more aggressive approach to reducing spending over this time period. i think for the economy and the markets the boehner proposal would get the better response and frankly it's the least that we should be doing. jon: i want to read you a quote from the former speaker of the house nancy pelosi and i'm guessing that you haven't heard that she was asked this morning at her regular weekly news briefing about the resignation, the upcoming resignation of outgoing congressman david wu. she says that is the last thing on my mind.
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what we are trying to do she said is save the world from the republican budget. we are trying to save life on this planet as we know it today. is that a bit of hig hyberboly, senator? >> it certainly sounds like it. life on the planet today is better than it would be because america has always been a leading economic force, at least in the last century. we have been the country that people turn to as a model as to how free market capitalism can work. that is at stake in terms if we don't get our budget problems under control with record deficits and debts and deal with underlying issues we will become more like greece and that's what the credit agencies are telling us, that's what all the economists are telling us. so i heard what the white house spokesperson said about the reduction in spending and the boehner plan. i now hear what pelosi is says, they are saying it cuts too
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much. i think in reality we aren't doing enough yet. but at least we have to do what is provided in the boehner proposal to begin the process of changing this project tree of mounting deficits and debts. life on the planet as we know it may not be at stake here, but i think the economic well-being of the united states is at stake and it does affect the entire globe and it does affect what our kids and grand kids are going to inherit. we have to reduce spending. if we don't do this we can't get the economy on track. those are the issues. jon: serious issues here. senator, thank you. jenna: fox news alert. reports that the governor chris christie has been taken to the hospital to undergo tests apparently because he had some difficulty briefing this morning. his spokesman telling the associated press that the governor is being driven to a farm in central new jersey when he suddenly had difficulty breathing. he was taken to a somerset medical center one of the big medical centers in new jersey
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out of an abundance of caution. he is undergoing some tests. we are working to confirm this and get our own sources on this very important headline, the governor, chris christie being taken to the hospital in new jersey because he's been having difficulty breathing. more on this developing story as we get it. we have this fox news alert as well at least one u.s. soldier arrested in texas after raising concerns about another possible attack on fort hood. that's the same area where army major nidal malik hasan is charged with a shooting rampage that killed 13 people only two years ago. fox news broke that story today. jennifer griffin is live at the pentagon with more. >> reporter: we've just learned from law enforcement sources that the private who was arrested at 2:00pm yesterday in coleen, texas next to fort hood was trying to buy ammunition at guns galore. that is the same weapons store that major nidal malik hasan the fort hood shooter brought his weapons from.
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we now have a full screen picture of the private from fort campbell who was arrested. he's being held on federal charges of child pornography. but we understand that that may just be a holding charge because he also was found with bomb explosive materials at his hotel room in texas not far from fort hood. there is an interview with him conducted back in august when he applied to be a conscientious objector with the armor because he was a muslim he tells al-jazeera, quote i can't deploy as a muslim to afghanistan, it was his first deployment. at that point the army at fort campbell was very concerned about this soldier. they found child pornography on his government-issued computer. they did not grant him conscientious objector status, then an army review board overruled that. he then went on the lamb he was awol as of july 14th. he was found in coleen, texas yesterday at 2:00pm.
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he is being held by the police there. we are told these are federal charges that he is facing on child pornography. again, those bomb explosive materials found in his hotel room, along with i'm told from a law enforcement source jihaddist materials in a backpack he was carrying. we'll bring you more on the story. we broke it this morning. jenna: looking forward to more developments, jennifer, thank you so much. jon: fox news alert again the governor of new jersey, chris christie has checked into a hospital in new jersey this morning, this after reports he was having difficulty breathing. we just got a statement from the governor's press secretary. he says, governor cristie was having difficulty breathing this morning and out of an abundance of caution he went to somerset medical center to be checked out. in line with swan dealing with asthma he is being given routine tests as a precautionary measure. the governor is extremely grateful for the quality of care he is receiving this morning and has nothing but praise for the
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world-class doctors, nurses and staff. governor cristie newly elected to that job after replacing john corzine the democrat has been widely seen in republican circles as a presidential contender. he continues to deny that he is interested running for president in 2012 but at the same time he is making appearances in iowa, a very important presidential state. let's check in with the head of our fox news medical a team dr. manny alvarez. dr. manny i wasn't aware that governor cristie apparently has asthma already, but this would not be unusual, i suppose, or an asthmatic to occasionally have trouble breathing? >> no, absolutely not. if he has a history of asthma, with the weather that we've been having, of course with his work schedule, it's not unusual to get an asthma attack. one would assume that, you know, he would take medication to make
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sure that he doesn't have any kind of attack. i think it's very prudent that they took him to the medical center in new jersey right now, because if it's not asthma, then you have to rule out any kind of cardiopulmonary incident. that being said he could have a pulmonary emboli or cardiac abnormality. although he has been trying to loose weight and is trying to get in good physical shape has a lot of challenges due to his weight. you have to rule out an asthma attack but you have to rule out he's not having any cardiopulmonary problem. jon: you have to make sure it is nothing worse is what you're saying. >> absolutely. this is a man who has a very busy schedule. he's in cars, traveling long distances, it's very hot. sometimes all of these things pileup on you. listen you could be in perfectly good health and develop a pulmonary clot, and then of
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course that is one of the differential diagnosis when you have a cute event when you cannot catch your breath. the doctors have to be very careful. if it's an asthma attack they'll know right away because of its presentation. if it's not and he's been taking his medication on a regular basis it could be something more serious. jon: he has poked fun at his own weight. when asked if he was running for president he said, have you looked at me lately? is that something that -- does being overweight, can that exacerbate the impact of an asthma attack? >> well, not so much asthma attack. again, you know, asthma for a lot of asthmatics, if they have control of their asthma, you know, there is usually not a problem. remember, we haven't heard of any kind of asthma attack in the last, you know, in the last six or seven months that he has been rushed to the hospital for, so i
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don't think his asthma is right now something, you know, unless once the information comes more clearly, but, you know, i would rather first and foremost think that it has to do with a cute on set, and if he was perfectly fine this morning and on a way to give a speech of some sort, that if it same suddenly that this is something else that is not an asthma attack. and there weight becomes a problem. people who are overweight have cardiac -- could have cardiac problems. they have abnormalities of course of the rhythm of the heart. pulmonary emboli whether it extends from the leg or something needs to be consider considered. jon: the guy who really rocked the state with changes he brought to state government has been hospitalized.
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he had difficulty breathing. out of an abundance of caution he was hospitalized this morning. his staff says he is doing very well. balance today as pressure to raise the debt ceiling bills on capitol hill. we're so glad you're with us today. i'm jenna lee. jon: i'm jon scott. it could be defining moment of house speaker john boehner's career. after dropping out of talks with the white house, he is going after republican-led only effort to nail down spending cuts and raise the debt ceiling by august 2nd. jenna: we're waiting for series of votes in the boehner bill. a series of votes to get to the vote on the bill. 217 is magic number for passage when that vote happens. jon: t that means republicans could lose 23 of their own in the house and still because the bill without any
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democratic votes whatsoever. no democrats are expected to vote yes on the thing. white house giving indication where it stands on the speaker's bill a short time ago. >> what we need to do is get beyond, you know, voting dead on arrival measures that won't become law when we have so few days left to reach a compromise. we need to get that, that kind of political theater out of our system and get to work on something that can actually pass both houses with bipartisan support and be signed by the president. jon: dead on arrival said the president's spokesman. texas senator kay bailey hutchison the ranking member on the commerce committee and joins you now. what do you make of that statement from jay carney, senator? >> i think the white house is out of the picture now. i think what we must do in congress is put together a package between the democrats and republicans in congress and send it to the president for signature. jon: i've always heard that, you know, compromise leaves almost nobody happy. it seems like a lot of
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democrats aren't particularly happy with what's in the boehner bill but a lot of republicans aren't particularly happy with it either. does that potentially make it a good thing? >> i think that with the time deadline we're facing so close that none of us are going to be completely happy with what goes through. i do think we have a common goal of raising the debl ceiling with significant cuts, dollar for dollar cuts. i think that basis is the same among democrats on the senate and republicans in the senate. so i think we have a basis to move forward, that a cut for cut debt ceiling lifting can go forward. but then we have the opportunity before the end of the year under the proposal that speaker boehner has put forward and also i think would be acceptable in the senate, to look at the long-term cuts necessary to make it better. jon: you're not running for
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re-election yourself but here is what republicans say. they say the white house wants some kind of a debt ceiling deal that's going to put off another vote on this very painful and as we can see argumentative issue until after the next presidential election. do you see it that way? >> i think that is true. i think the president is forcing something that would go into the, after the election process, which we would support if we had real cuts that would achieve that kind of increase. but so far the white house has put nothing out for cuts and so we are going to hammer something out with republicans and democrats. and i think in this short time frame we're certainly not going to get to 2.7 trillion. we're going to be more in the one trillion area. jon: i want to ask you about something jay carney said from the podium there at the white house a short time ago. he essentially characterized, and of course this is a very broad paraphrase, but he
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essentially characterized the republican approach to this issue this way. i wrote down the quote. he said, i am going to blow up the economy if you don't do what i want. it would seem that the white house, you know, well, let me get your take on what he had to say, that quote, first of all. >> well, if he is talking about the president blowing up the economy --. jon: no. he seemed to be saying that republicans are holding the white house hostage and saying if you don't accept our plan as a whole, we're going to blow up the economy, that is what he seemed to be saying. >> well the republicans have been at the bargaining table. they have offered concessions and they have offered so many opportunities for compromise but the president basically never would agree to anything, and there was never anything concrete from
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the president. i think the lack of leadership, even the timing of the leadership, he didn't even get in this until two weeks ago, he should have been starting on this in january. he knew this debt ceiling had to be raised. and he was not being helpful with the budget he put forward. it was a freeze on 2011 spending which is an elevated spending level because of his stimulus package. so i think that he needs to come to the table earlier and provide leadership. i think now congress is saying, well, we're going to have to do something short-term and hopefully, mr. president, you're not going to blow up the economy in your own administration. jon: senator kay bailey hutchison, republican of texas. senator, thank you. >> thank you. jenna: let's go straight to the white house for the latest. wendell goler is joining us live with the dell events -- developments as they tick by moment by moment. >> reporter: democrats say the republican bill facing a
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couple of votes in the house can not pass the senate which is the same thing speaker boehner said about a bill raising taxes passing the house. 53 senators, all the democrats and two independents, sent speaker boehner a letter last night saying they would vote against his measure if it passes the house. it would require another vote raising debt ceiling by christmastime which the white house said would further slow the economy at the time that is the most important selling season for many businesses. now today transportation secretary ray lahood, who was republican when he was a member of congress, did the briefing with press secretary jay carney. lahood says the current unwillingness for compromise from republicans and democrats is holding up the federal aviation's administration funding bill. that cost 70,000 construction workers their jobs right now. it is costing the government $200 million a week in lost airline ticket taxes. >> it's real money to the treasury. for all the talk around here
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about the debt and deficit, that money is being lost to the treasury. and, we're trying to figure out if it can be made up or not? so for people who really care about debt and deficit, pass a clean bill. let's get back on track. let's get our workers back to work. let's get construction projects going again and let's start collecting the tax that goes into the federal treasury. >> reporter: republicans say the senate democrats plan to cut the deficit and raise debt ceiling would give the president $2.4 trillion blank check. seven months they say is about the average time for raising the debt ceiling. >> 31 times congress and the president have raised the debt limit over the past 25 years. 22 of debt limit increases lasted less than a year. >> reporter: republicans say that the house bill cuts the spending next year about the same amount as the democrat plan in the senate. and commits to the same kind of bipartisan congressional
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committee to look at long-term cuts in entitlement programs as the democrats bill. the only thing it does is require a second vote on raising the debt ceiling about six months from now. that's at only difference. jenna? jenna: wow a lot to keep track of there, wendell. thanks very much for "the rundown." more of course as we get it. jon: as white house and congress wrestle with the debt ceiling debate new weekly jobless numbers are in today. the numbers of americans filing for first time unemployment claims actually dropped to 398,000 last week. that's the lowest level since early april. it's a sign the job market could be on the upswing after this long, long slump. jenna: we should mention though those numbers are revised every week and for last four weeks they have been revised higher. we'll see what stand and what indication of a job market it will actually be. there is also a new report on health care costs in that health care will account for one out of every five dollars spent in the u.s. by 2020. the centers for medicare & medicaid services predicts the government will
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pick up half the tab. just two years ago the government paid for 44% of the nation's health care. this new forecast is based on increasing costs and millions of americans who will be covered under the health care reform plan, the new health care law. jon: there is talk in washington that president obama could just sort of bypass congress and go it alone to at least put a temporary solution to the debt crisis. we'll talk with senator jeanne shaheen about the various plans that are on the table, including what some call the nuclear option. also the outlook for african-americans looking for jobs, not very good. why they are having a much harder time than others when it comes to finding work. also rick folbaum, we don't want to ignore him. he is over at the web wall for us. rick? >> thanks very much, jon. you decide, we report. we have three stories. which one do you like best? go to the "happening now" homepage at foxnews.com. look at choices of the day. the winner of an air guitar contest. do you like to rock out at
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home? we'll tell you about that. also crocodiles caught in a very interesting way. that is your second option. or, lots of women dream of having superhero for a us had. this is not a story about my wife by the way i schuss mention that. we'll tell you about a lucky lady whose dreams came true. if you like the story cast your vote. we'll have more "happening now" after a quick break. don't go away. [ rge ] psst. constated? phillips' caplet use gnesium, an ingredient that works more naturally wityour colon than stimulant xatives, for fective reli of constipation without cramps. thanks.
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the only time you can savor three sweet alaskan crab entrees all under $20, like our hearty crab and roasted garlic seafood bake or sn crab and crab butter shrimp. [ jon i wouldn'tut it my table at home, i wouldn't bring it in. my name's jon forsythe, and i sea fd differently. jon: a fox news alert. as we mentioned earlier, new jersey governor chris christie hospitalized this morning after having some trouble breathing. shannon crowley, with our affiliate wwor joins us on the phone from the hospital. she is still in there? >> reporter: yeah. actually governor chris christie was on his way to an event, to a bill signing
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in hilsboro, new jersey, on the way over he had trouble breathing. as you know he suffers from asthma. as a abundance of caution they decided to take him to the somerset hospital for observation. the spokesperson for governor christie actually made the announcement at the event he was supposed to be at. i saw him a minute ago. he pulled up here too. as far as we know he is doing just fine. he is being treated right here. as soon as we have an update we'll bring it to you. jon: it doesn't sound like the governor's people feel this was a tremendous threat. as you say abundance of caution is what led them to take him to the hospital? >> reporter: yes, exactly. because of his asthmatic condition and you have to be careful with that. it is sweltering hot day here in new jersey so they had to take every precaution. jon: shan none, thanks for being with us if there are any updates. get back with us. shannon crowley with wwor.
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jenna: "happening now", lawmakers continue to wrangle over a debt deal. we have five days to go until the country defaults. some in congress think it is time for the president to think about the so-called nuclear option where he could raise the debt ceiling through 2012 by executive order. there is still a question of legal i ts of that. before we even get to the that question whether he is going to do that we still have congress trying to work its way to a compromise. joining us new hampshire senator jeanne shaheen a democrat on the small business committee. senator, we have two plans that seem to be before congress right now. you have the boehner plan and the you have the reid plan in the senate. they have been described as very similar plans. why are we still not at a compromise? >> well i think there's a disagreement about how long we would like to see the plan go until we have to vote again. that's one of the concerns i have about the boehner plan. it doesn't get us through the next year. it is only a six-month proposal. the reid plan does longer
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than that. one of the things that i'm hearing from small businesses in new hampshire is the that they would like some certainty. they want to see this resolved. they want to see us work together. they want to be able to plan and invest in the a way that is going to be good for the economy. that will allow us to create jobs. and i think we need to get this behind us. we need to take the second step and deal with coming up with a long-term debt and deficit plan. jenna: sorry to interrupt. >> sure. jenna: so the president if he so chooses again, there is question, even voiced questions whether or not he can use an executive order to do this, but that would certainly erase uncertainty for some of the small businesses you're mentioning if the president came out and said listen, we're extending the debt ceiling we're sidestepping congress. would you be for that? >> no. i think congress needs to get this done. there are authorities there is nothing that is preventing us from doing this except the will to come to the table to negotiate. i think the president and
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other administration officials have looked at that and determined that's not a viable option. congress needs to act. that is our responsibility. jenna: i'd like to follow up on the question my colleague ed hendry asked in the press briefing jay carney a short time ago. he asked the question whether or not too much was happening behind closed doors. we get myriad reports from certain key leaders. i'm wondering your opinion as a senator, is this too much happening behind closed doors to have a good sense to see what compromise lay before you? >> when we see the plans in front of us then we'll know. i think if they have to meet behind closed doors to get this done, that's what they need to do. the reality is we have a deadline of tuesday to raise this debt ceiling. and there are significant consequences of our failure to do that. it will affect business. it could put us into another recession. it will affect families across this country in terms
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of their ability to borrow and their mortgage payments and credit cards and car payments. we need to get this done. we need to start focusing on the other issues facing this country. and that's how we put people back to work. and how we got this economy growing again and the way it should. jenna: senator shaheen thanks forejoining us today. nice to have you back on the show. >> thank you. jon: we have some brand new and very interesting polls what americans think of this debt stalemate we've been watching for weeks now in washington and how they think the president is handling the debt crisis. scott rasmussen joins just ahead. otein.
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jon: brand new polls out now on the debt showdown in washington that is rad he willing america's financial security. take a look at a new "rasmussen poll" showing nearly 60% of the americans
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say they are closely watching the debt debate as it unfolds. according to the same poll americans are holding out hope the debt ceiling will be raised before the government begins defaulting on its debt. 33% say it is very likely our political leaders will come to some agreement. 37% say somewhat likely. scott rasmussen, president of rasmussen reports.com. interesting, when you ask people, the phrasing of these things is very important. so i was surprised though that 60% of the americans are following this closely. this is the kind of thing normally didn't get a lot of attention in the past. >> people are very concerned about what's happening. 69% believe if there is default it is bad from the economy. from the public the economy is already bad and get on this with this. jon: strongly approve the way congressional republicans are handling the debate over the federal debt limit. 15% say they strongly
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approve. i thought we had that graphic but we'll get to it in a second. at any rate, when you ask them, okay, there's the readout on the republicans. 15% strongly approve. 23% somewhat approve and so forth. then when you ask the same question regarding democrats, it is pretty much the same, 14%, 21%. >> the reason for this when people are hearing politicians talk about the debt ceiling debate they're sounding like the boy who cried wolf. people figure they're going to raise the debt ceiling. they're not really going to cut spending. in fact a majority say they don't expect spending to be cut significantly before election 2012. even if there is agreement to cut spending, people don't i think politicians will live by that agreement going forward. jon: when you asked how likely is it that the president and congressional republicans will reach an agreement, only 8%, this is regarding long-term government spending cuts, only 8% think that's likely to happen. >> not a lot of confidence. it is based on history.
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we have a nation spending has gone up every year since 1954. people know that even if the biggest of these plans is agreed to, spending will still be higher next year and the year after. that's causing a lot of frustration. jon: it seems to be sort of a feeling of a pox on both your houses regarding republicans and democrats? >> very much some i'm a fan of the new york giants football team. when the dallas cowboys play the washington redskins i want them both to lose. when americans look at politicians in washington they want both teams to lose. jon: scott as muse seen. thank you. >> thank you, jon. jenna: always comes back to football, didn't it? developments for the international space station. the dramatic plan for when it falls back to earth. wait until you hear where it will end up. you can take our poll, if russia wants to abandon the international space station should the u.s. take over? you could vote yes, time for us to give the program a breath of fresh air or no,
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we should get out ofhe game completely. go ahead online and cast your vote. we're waiting for the house to vote on speaker boehner's plan to raise the debt ceiling. even if the house republicans pass it, senate leaders say it is dead on arrival in that chamber. the question we're asking. what happens next? r pain relief.
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jon: a fox news alert and big doings on capitol hill. we're awaiting a vote in congress on house peeker -- speaker boehner's plan. the cloture vote just started on this rule a short time ago. house minority leader nancy pelosi weighed in. take a listen. >> let me say this, i'm very proud of the enthusiasm in our caucus for something other than the boehner bill. the boehner bill will not pass because it has democratic votes. jon: well, we are going to keep you updated. it doesn't sound like there's a lot of optimism from the democratic side of the aisle, but things can change. we'll keep you posted as we get closer to the actual vote. jenna: well, certainly the debt crisis is something we're going to be paying close attention to, but we have to get to other news as well. two years ago this sunday three americans hiking in iraq requester arrested on charge -- were arrested on charges they crossed a marker to iran.
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shane bauer and josh fatale are still being held in an iranian prison on espionage charges. they have a hearing set for this sunday, and their families and friends are planning a major rally in new york city to appeal once again for their release. josh is alex's brother, and -- i'm sorry, alex is here, josh -- >> people do that all the time, even my dad. jenna: thank you. your dad does it? well, that makes me feel a little bit better. so what do you hope to achieve, and why are you arranging this protest now? >> well, it's a final hearing, you know? we've had dates that have been scheduled and just nothing has happened. may 11th there was supposed to be a court hearing, nothing happened. judiciary came out and said final hearing, happens to be on the two-year mark that just two days before we're going to rally, and we're going to show that we're resolved to continue to to fight for shane and josh's freedom until they're home.
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it's a rally of peace, it's arally of prayer, it's a rally of hope that iran will finally do the right thing. jenna: you know, we've had a whole bunch of different experts talk about iran on a myriad of different issues, not just this one. it's a country that's very difficult to deal with. we don't have any diplomatic relations with them. is this risky? are you worried about the reaction from the iranians? >> our appeal is an appeal on the humanitarian level. this is a humanitarian issue, and we know the people of iran are, ultimately, humanitarians and are capable of great compassion. you know, we've been promised this compassion, we've been promised leniency, and we really feel the time is right, the time is now. jenna: when's the last time you heard from josh? >> we had a phone call in may, but it was really brief, so, you know, the mothers were there visiting well over a year ago. we don't have any firsthand information about how they're doing. we're very worried about them, we're always worried about them every moment of every day.
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they need to be out, and we really appreciate people's support, coming out tomorrow and friday. jenna: and you're inviting anyone that's in the city to come by. >> absolutely. jenna: we do have your web site as well as a facebook page that have been out there to try to inform the public. what's your next step besides the protest? where do you go now two years in? >> well, we really are hoping that sunday is going to provide an opportunity for iran to do the right thing finally. um, so we're going to be just on pins and needles hitting refresh. it'll be about two in the morning our time. jenna: how are you holding up? >> it's tough. i mean, this whole thing is really uncertain. it's difficult on the families, on the parents, um, and we're just trying to keep it together. jenna: just a final question here, a lot of us aren't familiar with the way the court system works in if iran. can you talk us through that? does your brother have representation? you haven't seen him, obviously, through a photograph or through anything for over a year, so how is communication even possible?
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>> we have a lawyer. the lawyer's not able to go in and see shane and josh. he's never had a private meeting with his clients. he's trying to defend them. we don't know exactly how the system works, but we hope that, you know, their innocence is so obvious. they were, you know, we have these videos of them just playing around two days before they were pick bed up, so obviously -- picked up o so, obviously, innocent. people all around the moon are just waiting to celebrate. jenna: and we have that facebook page up for our viewers. it's nice to try to understand the stakes. it's tough to understand, as you mentioned, the legal system, but we certainly all the hope for the best, alex. nice to have you back with us again, and we'll keep everyone updated on the protest tomorrow, happening noon, during our show, jon, so maybe we'll get some pictures we can share with our viewers as well. jon: would be great if iranians do the right thing. the gloomy job market taking a severe toll on families all
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across america, but one group has been hit especially hard. overall the jobless rate is 9.2% in this country for the past 29 straight months, but among african-americans it is now just over 16%, that is nearly one in six, double the rate for whites. senior national correspondent john roberts is live in atlanta with a look at this. john? >> reporter: you know, jon, it's a particularly tragic situation driven home by the report this week that for all those african-americans who have spent the last three decades trying to climb the click ladder, this recession has virtually wiped out those gains. you pointed to an up employment rate of -- unemployment rate of slightly more than 16% nationally. it's particularly bad in charlotte, north carolina, a place where one in five -- 20% of african-americans -- are out of work. >> my last day was july 29, 2009, i've been out of work two years. >> reporter: derek fox is the face of an unemployment rate
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that has reached deep into charlotte's black middle class. since he was laid off, he has contacted more than a thousand companies looking for work. so far not even a nibble. >> i got out of school and didn't get the jobs i was looking for. then i went back, got an mba degree, you know, and i'm almost like, wow, was this really worth it? >> reporter: charlotte was the promised land for well educated blacks or those who wants to climb the ladder by improving their education, but the financial crisis, recession and government budget cuts hit african-american workers particularly hard. vanessa parker got her bachelor's in business while working as an administrative assistant at ibm, but instead of moving up, ibm moved out. now she works a survival job for minimum wage. >> we want the american dream, to be able to take care of our homes and children. >> reporter: african-americans have historically had about double the national unemployment rate, but the numbers in the charlotte are particularly shocking says patrick graham,
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president of the urban league. >> i'd say that it's heartbreaking in the sense that you watch people who are viable, who have talent who can't necessarily find the job opportunity they need. >> reporter: you know, the congressional black caucus has been leaning on president obama to do something about this epidemic of black unemployment under his watch. the president so far has resisted the notion of job programs specifically targeted toward african-americans, and the cbc is cutting him a bit of a break. we talk today the chairman, emanuel cleaver, said, you know, if george bush was president, we'd probably be marching on the white house right now. and, jon, we should tell you i just heard from derek fox, he's interviewing for a job at wal-mart as a management trainer, so fingers crossed. maybe something good will come for him today. jon: let's hope we can get the situation turned around for all americans. john roberts, thanks. jenna: now a little bit of a moment of levity, right, rick? our viewers have cast their ballots, and they chose their must-see moment of the day. >> reporter: and the winner is the crocodile in australia.
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i guess they're used to them in australia, but they don't normally turn up in storm drains. that was the case the other day, actually, this was earlier today. and as you can see they had to wait for the wildlife folks to stop by to take the animal away. so while they did, the street cleaners, they used brooms, they put a blanket over his head, took a rubber band and put it around his mouth. there are the wildlife keepers putting him in the front of the van to take him away. we'll have much more "happening now" right after this. with diabetes, it's tough to keep life balanced.
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jon: part of the debt crisis is uncle sam's spending, you know, your rich uncle sends out hundreds of millions of checks or electronic payments last month alone. once they are out they are as good as cash to whoever receives
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them. so where are all those checks going? shannon bream checked it out, she's live in washington. >> reporter: hi, jon. we've heard various members of the administration saying that the treasury sends out roughly 80 million checks each month, but the overall number of government checks is actually a whole lot higher. in the month of june, the government sent out more than 211 million checks or electronic payments, so where do they go? well, medicare claims actually top the list. they account for 100 million of the checks that went out in june, 70 million of those go to doctors, the rest to providers like hospitals and labs. let's check out second on the list, this is the one you've probably heard the most about. more than 56 million social security payments went out in june. so what's third on the list? that comes from food stamps. they came to more than 21 million payments that went out in just one month. we talked with urban who served in the treasury department, and he pointed out something interesting. once the government cuts those
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checks, most of them are as good as cash. here's his take. >> once you go to the bank and you turn it over, they will pay it because it's immediate-available funds. and then if it bounces from the standpoint that treasury can't reimburse the banks for the monies that they've paid, then the banks are out of the money. >> reporter: other big groups of checks that go out, government vendors and, of course, all those tax refunds all of us look forward to. now, if you averaged out all the number of checks across the current u.s. population, it would mean roughly 70% of americans are getting some kind of government check, but we also know that some individuals out this are actually getting multiple checks. jon? jon: all right. shannon bream in washington. wouldn't we all like to get those government checks, huh? shannon, thank you. jenna: well, the final space shuttle mission wrapping up just a few days ago. the shuttles will be put on display for the public to enjoy, but when the international space station returns to earth, and it will, a new report says it'll have a far different retirement.
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what does that mean, rick? >> reporter: well, jenna, it's been up in orbit since is 1998 circling the globe about 220 miles above the earth's surface, and it's been doing a great job conducting experiments with crews from the u.s. and russia, europe, japan, canada too. but it's only funded through 2020. and it's what come next that's being talked about now, and here's what we're hearing. the space station will be plunged into the pacific ocean. that's the plan. experts say this is pretty standard procedure, that it just can't be left up in orbit, it would eventually fall back to earth anyway, so better to do a guided reentry and make sure it lands in an unpopulated area like out in the middle of the pacific ocean. so that's the deal, that's what will happen unless more money gets allocated towards the program. again, the money runs out in 2020, and plunging it into the pacific is the plan. you mentioned so many changes in the country's space program with the end of the shuttle program and the international space
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station nearing its end. a new game plan is truly, at this point, jenna, up in the air. >> reporter: and 80% of our viewers decide if russians don't want to use the space station, we should go back and take it over. >> reporter: let's see if washington's paying attention. jon: only problem is, we can't get there on our own. jenna: oh, right. that whole shuttle problem. jon: yeah. gotta ride those russian rockets. a very different terror threat right within our borders, the group responsible for a string of attacks including bomb blasts and arson. we'll tell you how the government is fighting back against a gang of ecoterrorists. also we want to hear your thoughts. go to foxnews.com, click on the america's asking tab. we are collecting your thoughts about politics, the debt debate, the deficit situation and everything else, and we will read some of the most pungent comments near the end of the show. emily's just starting out... and on a budget.
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martha: coming up on "america live," get ready for the vote. we will know during our time on air today if boehner deal will go forward or not, and you will see it first right here on "america live," so stay tuned for that. and when the twin towers fell, two steel beams in the shape of a cross remained, and they became a meaningful shrine to those who were lost for many people. but now there is a fight to block the return of that cross to the site for the 9/11 anniversary. we're going to tell you about that. and a boxer thought he had landed a job with tsa, but then they told him he wouldn't be able to do the job. his story may make you think twice about airport security, all that coming up at the top of the hour. we'll see you then. jon: quick check, right now, on
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some of the weather stories we are following. people in charleston county, south carolina, cleaning up right now after flood waters swept through a number of homes and streets on folly beach. the flash floods triggered power outages, damaged cars as well. luckily, no injuries reported. massive landslides and flooding continue in south korea, at least 44 people are dead now. thousands of rescue teams digging through the mud to search for a number of people still thought to be missing. recent heavy rapes -- rains have left thousands homeless. and wichita, kansas, seeing temperatures of 110 degrees. that breaks a record set back in the 1986. forecasters say there is no relief in sight just yet. jenna: well, besides making a dent in a major ecoterrorism ring, the fbi catching another member of a splinter group behind numerous attacks in our pacific northwest. that group calls themselves the family, and members have planted
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bombs at a number of buildings including the university of washington. dan springer is live from our seattle bureau with more on this. dan? >> reporter: yeah, and, jenna, the latest member of this family, the accused member of the ecoterror cell known as the family to face charges is 31-year-old justin, and he was in federal court in tacoma yesterday charged with making the fire bomb that destroyed a horticulture building at the university of washington back in 2001. so loan had been on the run for six years and was finally busted in china on a drug charge. this cell is believed responsible for at least 17 attacks over a six-year period. it was based in eugene, oregon, and most of the targets were in the pacific northwest; forest ranger stations, timber companies, car lots, an animal slaughterhouse, and even a part of the ski lodge in vail, colorado. all told, tens of millions of dollars of damage. the group was very good at making fire bombs and avoiding
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detection. members would communicate about upcoming meetings and attacks by using codes buried in the books. >> this group was largely off the grid. so you didn't have a lot of the investigative tools available to you that would open doors. >> reporter: but operation backfire which is still the largest domestic terror case ever in the u.s. got a break in 2005 when they arrested one of the anarchists and blogged about how much they knew. jacob ferguson i greed to -- agreed to cooperate and wear a wire, and in one day back in 2005 more than a dozen arrests were made. prosecutors have been able to use the threat of a post be 9/11 terrorism enhancement to threaten the sentence of life in prison. most of the radicals have chosen to cooperate in exchange for sentences ranging from 3-10 years. the arson attacks have almost completely fallen off since then, but one anarchist says the fight for the planet is far from over. >> it hasn't gone. it's going to come back, and
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it's going to come back in a serious way. to try to be equal to this challenge, otherwise we just sit there and let it all go to hell. >> reporter: so more than 14 convictions so far and, jenna, there are still three members of this so-called family still at large. they also are believed to be overseas, hiding out in some foreign company, just like so lang was. jenna: no small number there, dan. thank you very much. >> reporter: they were busy, yep. jon: a key vote underway in the house, we're awaiting the results, and it is getting feisty. the house has begun debate on the rule governing the boehner bill. it's not the actual debate on the bill itself, it's the debate that tees up the vote on the bill. but if they debate to bring up the bill, gets a little confusing, but that's what's going on right now.
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jon: the hill newspaper covers all things political, and politics can get ugly, but we wanted to point to something that's of special pride to "happening now." the number four person in the most beautiful people, jenna gibson, one of our bookers in d.c. she is the pride of clemson university and south carolina. and, jenna, we are proud of you. she does a great job, the sweetest person, hardest worker and -- >> reporter: not just another pretty face. jenna: you just got some major points for giving clemson a shoutout. expect be all the good interviews to go to john from now no on. >> reporter: rita says i would like to know why harry reid refuses to bring any of the house wills to the floor -- bill toss the floor of the senate, this seems dictatorial to me. it would be nice to see the senate involved. sue says, why is everyone blaming obama?

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Happening Now
FOX News July 28, 2011 11:00am-1:00pm EDT

News/Business. Jon Scott, Jenna Lee. Breaking news reports. New.

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